Master of Interior Architecture and Furniture Design
We educate future interior architects. The most important practical subjects are the design of space, furniture and architectural details. For instance, the students learn to design homes, schools, cafés, both modern and demanding historical interiors. The students also learn about painting and landscaping, photography and philosophy.
- The Academy of Arts has educated interior architects for more than seventy years. One can honestly say that all of Estonia’s most important interiors have been designed by our graduates and current faculty members.
- We try to adhere to a principle that stresses the integrity of form and content but also considers the function of the space or the item. We keep our finger on the pulse of our times, while also searching for our own path.
- In our climate, people unfortunately spend most of their time indoors and not outdoors, and therefore, whether we like it or not, indoor spaces have a great impact on our everyday lives. Therefore, interior architects and furniture designers have a unique opportunity to improve the world – to use their ideas to make people happier.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE DESIGN AS A PROFESSION
The field in which we operate – the built-up environment as a whole – forces us to synthesise and perceive architectural problems and environmental issues more generally. At the same time, we deal with all the smallest tangible details and problems that people are personally interested in. And we must know what is happening in the other design fields and fine arts, and to be familiar with a large number of technical disciplines. These include, among others: lighting and acoustics, heating and ventilation, building and finishing materials, building and furniture structures, and various computer programs. If we add good communications skills, necessary for understanding and influencing the client or various interest groups related to the design process, as well as the need to be well-acquainted with the specifics of various design fields, we get quite an awe-inspiring list.
WHAT ARE THE STUDIES LIKE?
The three-year BA programme places the greatest emphasis on the theoretical and practical learning of general art subjects and technical disciplines, which enables the graduate to continue in the MA programme, or to work as an assistant in an architectural or interior architecture office, in various media fields, as well as in manufacturing, service and business enterprises.
The MA programme basically focuses on various specialised creative projects, the in-depth analysis of the elements of the built-up environment, and the completion of the master’s thesis. In accordance with the curriculum, the studies add up to 120 ECTS credits. Graduates of the MA programme can work as independent specialists in both the design and construction fields, in the furniture industry, at media and advertising companies, as well as in service and retail enterprises.
INTERIOR ARCHITECTURE AND FURNITURE DESIGN AT THE ACADEMY OF ARTS
Interior architects have been educated at the Academy of Arts for more than 70 years. One can honestly say that all of Estonia’s most important interiors have been designed by our graduates and current faculty members. One could mention Leila Pärtelpoeg, who restored the Tallinn Town Hall and numerous manor houses; Väino Tamm, the foremost modernist of the 1960s; and current Professor Emeritus Vello Asi; Pille Lausmäe, famous for her luxurious minimalist interiors; and Tiina Mang, who has gained fame for her neo-functionalist furniture. The department is headed by Professor Toivo Raidmets, who has created sensations with his striking club interiors and interesting furniture.
The foundation for the education of interior architects in Estonia was established by a presidential decree on 1 August 1938. To date, 551 interior architects, studying full- and part-time, have received their professional higher education diplomas.
The preliminary step for the establishment of the Department of Interior Architecture was the opening of a woodworking workshop at the Tallinn Industrial Art School in 1917, where furniture design was also taught. A more professional education of interior architects was initiated in 1938, when an interior architecture course was introduced at the State Higher Art School, which was created on the basis of the industrial art school.
The mission-oriented idea to educate interior architects may have come from the members of the progressive Association of Applied Arts (RaKÜ). Its membership including practicing architects who had no professional education. One of them, Richard Wunderlich, was Estonia’s most prominent designer of luxury furniture, chairman of RaKÜ, the school’s director and one of its first teachers. The RaKÜ members also included a dozen outstanding architects, including Edgar-Johan Kuusik, who became the head of the department after World War II.
The studies, which had been interrupted by the war and ensuing political changes, were resumed in 1944 in a reorganised school of higher education with a new name – Tallinn State Applied Art Institute of the Estonian S.S.R. The first interior architects with higher educations graduated in 1949. The department was closed in 1955. More changes occurred – the State Art Institute of the Estonian S.S.R. (ERKI) was created by merging the institutes for art education, and the speciality was consolidated in a department with the new name of Spatial Design.
In 1959, students were again admitted and a younger generation of interior architects filled the faculty positions. Bruno Tomberg, Väino Tamm, Leila Pärtelpoeg and Vello Asi were engaged in the teaching. The studies were organised on the basis of a new curriculum, and an up-to-date study profile was developed. The studies focused on a form idiom influenced by Nordic Modernism, which emphasised functionality and constructiveness. The so-called Tamm School, which favours clarity and succinctness, has ensured the recognised level of Estonian spatial and furniture design since the 1960s.
The graduates can work independently as interior architects and furniture designers – their diplomas correspond to the professional standards approved by the Association of Interior Architects.
The Academy of Arts is the only accredited school of higher education in Estonia that offers the relevant BA programme. The studies include numerous international workshops, lectures by visiting professors, seminars and the students introduce their work at both local and foreign fairs (in Stockholm for example). Especially close collaboration exists with the Nordic countries. Students can continue their studies at foreign schools of higher education, or, if they wish, in the PhD programme at the Academy of Arts.
In accordance with the curriculum, the studies comprise 180 AP, of which half are related to the specialised theoretical and practical subjects. Of the theoretical subjects, the following deserve special mention: the history of architecture and interiors, architectural typology, the parts of buildings, health protection and fire safety, lighting equipment, architectural acoustics, computer studies, art management and much more. The practical subjects include the design of space, furniture and architectural details. The relevant projects are completed as exercises, and samples of furniture and furnishing elements are produced in the departmental workshops.
WHAT JOBS WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER I GRADUATE?
- interior architect
- furniture designer
- journalist writing about interior architecture
This school offers programs in:
Last updated March 9, 2016